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Saturday, February 16, 2008

New York's Newsday Newspaper: Our Screwup At Root Of Hillary-Obama Ohio Flap

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- "We should have been clearer." With those words, the Long Island tabloid seems to be admitting responsibility for misleading information that wound up in a controversial Obama mailer to Ohio Democrats. The mailer says "Hillary Clinton believed NAFTA was a 'boon' to the economy." Newsday explains that the word 'boon' comes from a 2006 chart it created. The chart was printed to summarize Hillary's positions and compare them to her Democratic U.S. Senate primary challenger in New York that year. The newspaper admits she never used the word boon, adding, "The word was our characterization of how we best understood her position on NAFTA, based on a review of past stories and her public statements."

Obama picked up Newsday's chart as his source. The Tribune Co. publication's Dan Jamison writes that he thinks Obama misled Ohio voters to have done so. But that looks like a lame argument. Jamison's own newspaper had already levelled the accusation against Hillary. It created the 2006 chart that attributed NAFTA as a boon. Here's the Newsday writer:

"We do not have a direct quote indicating her campaign told us she thought it was good for the economy at that time. Also, for that matter, Clinton's campaign did not contact us to question the item after it appeared in print. Obama's use of the citation in this way does strike us as misleading. The quote marks make it look as if Hillary said 'boon,' not us. It's an example of the kind of slim reeds campaigns use to try to win an office. That said, we should have been clearer."

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